Last November I went out to visit my doctor for my annual medication review. I was suffering with intermittent pain and my medication was not effective at certain hours of the day. After our chat and changing the medication to an 8-hour dispensation, I asked about my blood work. Due to the guinea pig feeling many of us feel with the medication given to us, I always have blood work done. It is now undertaken every 3 months as my haemoglobin and white cell count was very low 2 years ago. This triggered an emergency bone marrow extract in 2016 as my white cell count was low.
I remember the day, it was 5:20 pm on a Tuesday, as the call came through. I was sitting at my desk just about to leave the office. The next morning after waiting for the Consultant Haematologist for an hour, I was none the wiser as to what was so urgent. I had mentally surrendered to more bad news. The bone marrow extract was the 4th procedure checking for cancer.
2 years later my doctor flicks through my notes and says, “you are no longer anaemic your haemoglobin level was 11.6”. The accepted level of haemoglobin is 11. My white cells were 2.8. I just stared at my doctors stunned. It had taken 2 years of quitting my job, being isolated, misunderstood and living a quiet life to get where I am. The accepted level is 4. My “little defenders” were working. My Doctor smiled encouragingly at me and said, “keep doing what you are doing let’s get you to 4”. I did not even care to find out what it meant, I was ready to do the hokey pokey and Charlie Chaplin dance. I smiled at him and thanked him for his support
On my way home, I sat a bench overlooking a pond close to my house in complete shock at the improvement. I had chosen not to have iron infusions as I hear they are very painful. My previous count was 8.6 and if it decreased to 7, they would have made me get the infusions. My “little defenders” could have been helped along by medication and I said “No”. My house already looked like a pharmacy. The stress I was under depression and the fibromyalgia pain was relentless. I had no clue that our immunity can be so severely compromised. I struggled with viral and flues for 2 episodes of pneumonia and I stumbled forward.
When I got home, I googled the ramifications of the low blood count. You can imagine my shock to discover that the low white cell count would have been indicative of cancer. The low count is also common with HIV+ patients. I was glad for the omission but how is it I am still alive. One of my best friends who is a doctor when we spoke was in shock “you were open to any illness, you know”.
Take control of your medication. I cut an almost 3-page prescription to 4 drugs that manage the fibromyalgia and depression. Whilst I am on very high doses of Pregabalin I was always in control of how it was dispensed. My greatest fear now is how to get of the drug, but I am sure I will find a way.
Get your blood count checked and discuss it with your doctor. When we are under a lot of stress and our bodies continuously under distress, our immunity is affected. With the myriad of drugs, we get prescribed for fibromyalgia and other conditions it is imperative for periodical blood work.
Do not be afraid to make tough decisions on how you live your life. I have lost a lot of friends over the last six years. Sometimes I withdraw from people as I cannot take the drama and noise, and the anxiety of being around people. I chose to be misunderstood as my health came first. No one is worth your pain.